By Christina Davis
Cal Poly Pomona is known for utilizing advances in technology to better educate students. To keep up with technology and look for better ways to integrate it, an event called PolyTeach was held on April 4 in the Bronco Student Center.
The event was open to staff, faculty and students so that they could learn new ways to teach and learn their courses using innovative technology. This was the third time this event was held on-campus. The four-hour event ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and included demonstrations of different mobile apps by staff and faculty and guest speaker Robbie Melton, Associate Vice Chancellor of eLearning and Emerging Mobilization Technology for the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The Board is a higher education system that oversees community colleges, universities and technical colleges in the state. Her job is to visit campuses and promote products that make teaching and learning easier through technology. She led the first part of the seminar, in which she explained different devices that would be beneficial to staff and faculty.
She demonstrated new concepts such as projectors and printers for mobile devices and Smartboard, which is a computer-projected whiteboard that can be projected onto any wall and turned into a touch-screen surface.
She also showed some of her favorite apps such as Word Lens, which works like Google Translate and can be used to understand other languages, and Sign 4 Me, which translates words into sign language.
“The goal of this event is to help faculty members see what their mobile devices can do to better teach their classes with emerging technology,” said Melton.
Richard Lapidus, Dean of CPP’s College of Business Administration, put together this event and enjoyed seeing Melton’s demonstrations of “accessories that turn phones and devices into other tools such as an E.K.G., a microphone and a microscope.”
“The goals are to make people aware of global technology and to engage students and faculty in technology,” said Lapidus.
During the presentations, technology saavy audience members were taking notes on their tablets or downloading the apps that were demonstrated by faculty and staff that supports eLearning, while more traditional professors and administrators jotted notes in notebooks or flipped through folders.
Laurie Starkey, a professor in CPP’s Chemistry Department, was a fan of the app CloudOn, which makes Microsoft Office documents accessible through a tablet. This is helpful to students as well as faculty members because it eliminates the step of e-mailing themselves the text from their notepad app so that they can paste the information to a Word document on a desktop at a later time.
“This makes the iPad more like a mobile computer, said Starkey.
Erick Zelaya, Multimedia Developer in eLearning, demonstrated this app.
“The goal of CloudOn is the ability for students and faculty to collaborate for a group project to work on the same document. The app has a full set of Microsoft tools available that can be directly accessed through a tablet,” said Zelaya.
Another app of interest was the Myscript Calculator, which was demonstrated by Eric Davis, Instructional Designer in eLearning. This table was crowded at all times during the presentation due to the app”s ability to translate drawn mathematical figures on the surface of the tablet into mathematical equations that it solves. This is beneficial to students and faculty alike because this way, they can check their work without having to figure out how to put it into the calculator.
“I use a great deal of technology in my courses. Students learn differently now, and it’s exciting to see the university recognize that,” said Teshia Roby, from CPP’s College of Education and Integrative Studies department.
Roby demonstrated numerous apps including Time Machine, Sky Guide and Field Trip, all of which she personally uses on her tablet.
Staff and faculty were exposed to an array of technological advances by Melton and the eLearning that they will be able to apply in their classrooms and offices.
“It was a battery of the senses,” said Starkey. “I could sit and listen for eight hours, which isn’t something you would always expect from a seminar.”
Brittany Fleshman/The Poly Post
CPP’s POLYTEACH: Technology, Education combine
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